Brad Smith (jesus_h_biscuit) wrote,
Brad Smith

On Jealousy, (In)Security, & Knowing Your Own Worth

"Vanity and happiness are incompatible."
- The Marquise de Merteuil, from DeLaclos' Les Liasons Dangereuses
I was thinking about this earlier while I was in the shower and listening to talk radio. The topic Bob & Sheri chose was on the top 10 things women do to annoy men. It got started when Sheri revealed evidence in a recent study suggesting that on average, women spend approximately 2-1/2 years of their lives getting all tarted up preening and primping in the mirror, with makeup and hair and all that crap. It struck me as particularly interesting because I have (and always have had) so many women in my life, some who are intent on masking every miniscule self-perceived defect with every makeup product know to man, and it works for them. Some that are just naturally luminous and makeup destroys that. Some who, without regard to makeup, are beautiful and radiant - until they open their mouths and all is lost.

In addressing sexual attraction, I do not really discuss women as I'm not interested in them sexually anymore, and haven't been in many years. That is not to say that I cannot recognize when a woman is truly sexy and/or attractive, just that it's not anything I'm interested in. Women who use only minimal amounts (if any) makeup at all are the most attractive to me. I don't like a lot of preening and show, particularly when it transfers over to one's appearance. I've never been attracted to men OR women that looked right off the bat like they have spent a lot of time on their appearance. Being manicured and polished is not sexy to me. Being masked with perfume or cologne really bothers me, but I can tolerate it if I only smell it lightly on a person. It's when they have so much on that I smell it 20 minutes after they've left the room, then I automatically find it repellant. I much prefer the clean sweat smell that people have naturally, it is comforting to me to be able to identify people by their natural scent. With respect to men, part of the reason I identify with bearish types is because I think we're SUPPOSED to have curves and a bit of a belly instead of bulging muscles, veins, and six-pack abs. I look at people with these sculpted bodies and think "Um, eww? That is so unnatural and unappealing." I don't want to see clean shaven anything or a ripped, cut body in designer clothes. Give me a furry bodied, fuzzyfaced guy in a workshirt or ratty old t-shirt, well worn, dirty jeans or khakis, and workboots - let him have big, broad features and be wearing a raggedy old ballcap, and I'll swoon and fantasize for hours on end. This should also explain why I am completely unattracted to twinks and 'bois', or anyone whose attractiveness factors around words like 'cute' and 'adorable'. That's for puppies, not hot manliness. I'm also not generally attracted to people younger than I am, with rare exceptions for the extraordinary. And if you're just a big ol' sissy, I'm sure someone is creaming their jeans for you - but not me. I want a man that's a MAN, not some ambiguously male characterization that lisps and addresses everyone in female pronouns with broad, sweeping gestures requiring lots of attention. Queen, please...

I'm not a vain person and I don't think I ever really have been. Now that I'm 35, I am grateful for that as I don't have the issues a lot of folks have about getting older and being subject to things like gravity and wrinkles. At any given time in my life, all you've really had to give me was 15 minutes - including shower time - and I'm ready to walk out the door. I even began shaving my head 10+ years ago because having no hair meant I could save time without having hair to fool with. Well, that and the fact that I think it is sexy. It got started when I was talking to someone and they kept commenting on my hair, how beautiful and black and glossy it was. For the rest of the conversation, she kept looking at my hair and not my eyes when speaking to me (I maintain eye contact when conversing, it lets me know you're listening) so that night when I got home I cut it all off and have not grown it more than 1/2" since. I'm turned on by curly hair and by bald men, even if it's just close cropped hair and a receding hairline. I see commercials for hair restoration with before-and-after pictures, and I always think 90% of those men were much better looking like they were originally.

I know my worth as a person and as a man. I'm not bothered by things I have no power to change, even if it means having to find a way to live with the things that bother me about myself. I'm unburdened with trying to look young at 35, because I am acutely aware of the fact that there is nothing I can do to remain young and cute looking - not that I would want to in the first place anyway. You can spend a hell of a lot of time focused on your appearance and fruitless attempts to remain youthful looking, but when time and gravity inevitably do what they're going to do to you, who is going to live in that body that eventually is going to look as old as it really is? Why are we so scared of this bullshit? Why are people more concerned with how they look to themselves and others than they are about who they are as people? It's just so insane to me. We all get old if we live long enough, and we all die just as we're all born. Rather than fearing this, accept it and live your fucking life instead of wasting time with this nonsense. I have no fear of growing old, but I'd just as soon not live past about 60-65. You're dying right now as you read this, don't pretend you're not. The point is not how you're dying at the moment, but how you're living that counts. And besides, I've already died once before so I know what that's like and have no fear of it.

Something else I'm glad I'm not burdened with is jealousy. I'm not insecure about much, and I'm not jeaous of any attention that others get over me. I'm perhaps overconfident that way, which I think is both good and bad depending on how you look at it. Call it relevancy or subjectiveness, you get the idea. I'll give you a for-instance of what goes on in my mind when I'm processing something that would inspire jealousy in a lot of people. Let's assume that I'm out with D somewhere and I strike up a conversation with some guy that's cruising D. Let's pretend that said guy is bold enough to say something like this to me: "Damn, he's hot - you better watch out, or I'll steal him from you and keep him for myself!" Let's also pretend that he's being serious and not joking in the least. I can guarantee you that my immediate response to something like this is going to be along the lines of this: "Man, if you could manage that then you're welcome to him - and I would wish you all the best if ever it happened." No one will ever love him the way that I do, but if the day ever came when that wasn't enough and I couldn't sustain enough love to keep him, then so be it. I love him, I want him to be happy - with or without me. His happiness (to me) comes before my own in many ways, even though I know I am not responsible for it - I love him so I want better for him than he wants for himself. That is how I define love.

I'm not sure about rejection, either. My perception of rejection is different than I believe it is for most people, specifically where it relates to inter-personal dealings with others. If the day ever came that D ended this relationship, I'd want to know why of course and I'd question it, but I'd accept it and that would be that. Sure I'd be devestated and wounded, but wounds heal and you're always better for your healing. I don't understand the whole "I'm not giving up without a fight!" thing that people do. Let's face it, you don't argue your way out of 'dumped', okay? For me it's really down to one simple principle in deciding how I'd be in that situation, and it's only something I've learned after being heartbroken and kicked down into the dirt before. If you don't want me, then I damned sure don't want you. I think of this as it relates to anyone I love, be they family, friends, romantic partners, it's all the same. Here's the thing. I think I'm a pretty good man. I'm a great friend, a great parent, and at the risk of sounding conceited (so be it) a lot of people would somehow be better for having known me. I have a high opinion of myself because I've worked my ass off to be a person worth knowing. Since I feel so strongly about that, it only stands to reason that I'm not going to be mortally wounded by X person's exit from my life. There are the things you cannot account for, like death. I've had more than my fair share of loss in that way and I've found a way to accept it when people die for the most part. But if anyone up and decided that I wasn't worth their time or energy, then what-the-fuck-ever! I don't sweat that kind of thing, because I sincerely value my relationships with others. If I'm not valued equally, then that's a deal breaker and I feel no guilt about it. I'm not going to get all worked up over anyone that didn't put energy into equalling me, because the reciprocity IS the check and the balance. You don't do your part, then you don't get the benefit of my love and respect. I know I'm not responsible for anything another person says, thinks, feels, or does - all I'm responsible for is my reaction(s) to it. I'm not going to be taken for granted or devalued, and I'm not going to lower my worth for anyone or anything ever again. I've done that before and it never got me anything good, so fuck that noise.

If you have a relationship of any kind with me and you don't work to honor and take care of it, it will suffer and I don't put up with that shit. I don't beg anyone to love me or be my friend, you either are or you aren't and you will or will not do the work to maintain it. I know that not everyone can nurture the way I can, but that's not what I'm talking about - I'm talking about being fair and decent. There's right and there's wrong, and I do not have the time or patience to deal with anyone that cannot make that distinction. It is not my job to help anyone 'get it', you either do or you don't and I'm not going to waste my time helping you make that distinction.

I believe that there is no feeling more sickening you could have than the one that results from the realization that the one you love most will never love you, no matter what you do. The problem of this is we interpret this as rejection when really we never give them the benefit of understanding that they never had that love to give back in the first place. They are no more in control of NOT loving us than we are of actively loving them. It's still not the same thing to me as being rejected, and believe me I've felt my share of that as well.
Tags: introspection
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